Follow TV Tropes


Death by Genre Savviness
aka: Death By Genre Savvy

Go To

Horror movies frequently have Genre Savvy characters. Sometimes the black guy takes the role, sometimes the nerd. Regardless, they're nearly always blind to the most relevant death trope: the Genre Savvy character always dies.

Extra irony points if the character gets dispatched through some death trope immediately after talking about it — or better yet in the midst of talking about it. In the rare event that they're actually Genre Savvy enough to realize that their knowledge places them in danger... well, let's not consider that.

This can become irritating or implausible, especially if it comes across as just a cheap shot to prove how "unstoppable" the killer is supposed to be.

Note: Just because a character died even though they did the smart thing does not automatically make it an example of this trope; that’s either Death by Pragmatism, where simply being sensible gets you killed, or The World's Expert (on Getting Killed), where the guy who has in-depth knowledge on the nature of the threat and how to effectively fight it off manages to get killed by it anyways. Rather Death by Genre Savviness is when a character says something like, “I’m not going to die like those idiots do in the movies!”, before promptly dying just like those idiots do in the movies. Also compare Wrong Genre Savvy.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Armed Girl's Machiavellism has a non-lethal example during the Hokkai arc: Souta had three former Six King Swords followers, but only brought two with him for his coup against Nonomura so that if someone attacked their school while the Six Swords were at Aiichi Hokkai would be defended, but that meant the coup failed for a lack of fighting strength when the Five Supreme Swords got dragged in and the one left behind by himself could not oppose Amou.
  • In Blood-C, when the Elder Barin is massacring Saya's classmates, one of them manages to react much faster than them and gets out. He then gets killed when hit by jagged glass shards, caused by Saya jumping off the window.
  • During the final battle between Jotaro and Dio in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders.
    • Dio has Jotaro completely helpless thanks to The World and is about to deal the finishing blow, when suddenly he notices Jotaro's finger twitch in stopped time, at which point he suddenly pulls back. If he had played the "villain gloats over his impending victory unaware that his opponent has an ace up their sleeve" trope straight he would've actually won, as moving his finger for a fraction of a second was all Jotaro was capable of doing at the time, but instead Dio became more cautious at the prospect of his opponent being able to move within stopped time, giving Jotaro enough time to learn how to do just that and eventually defeat Dio.
    • Even worse, the finger was twitching due to a trick involving magnets. He wasn't actually able to move himself at all at the time, making it even safer, and Dio's reaction is what allowed Jotaro to realize he could move during the frozen time.
  • Played for laughs when Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple hovers over his food when eating at Ryozanpaku, expecting his masters to pull the "eating is training" exercise seen in martial arts fiction. The masters actually had no intention of doing any such thing until Kenichi mentioned it and turned them on to the idea.
  • Michel Blanc in Macross Frontier, though it's really his own fault. When Ozma nearly dies (in a way that was a blatantly obvious Shout-Out to the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross), Michel lampshades how dramatic it would have been if he really died. Three episodes later, he gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice and makes a Dying Declaration of Love before being Thrown Out the Airlock. Do not taunt the fourth wall, kiddies.

    Comic Books 
  • In Crossed one character observes that one of the Crossed was in visible discomfort after being covered in salt, and assumes this means they're Weak To Salt and simply surrounding yourself with a salt circle would be enough to keep them away. Naturally, this gets him (and his family) killed.
  • In The Eagles of Rome, the Roman legions in Germania are getting slowly and steadily dilapidated by the rebelling locals before the great battle of Teutoburg Forest. Legatus Vala understands that his troops are doomed and tries to flee on horseback through the woods. In doing so, he isolates himself and is killed by the Germans offscreen.

    Fan Works 
  • After a few moments of cunning, Cooler slips up and suffers this in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. After launching his Death Ball at Goku, he starts ranting about he's smarter than Freeza and going to avoid the same fate - without actually doing any of it.
  • Fallout: Equestria - Murky Number Seven: Wildcard knows that Glimmerlight has set aside a special magic bullet just for him, so when they confront each other, he dodges it with ease... only to learn that Glimmer anticipated this. She made two, with the second shot coming catching him off-guard.
  • In Legacy, a certain contestant, who happens to be a slasher flick buff, is convinced that the serial killer is just an actor hired for the challenge, so she doesn't try to defend herself. Tragedy ensues as the story diverges from the canon moments later.
  • In The Many Worlds Interpretation, Ponder is well aware that the expenses incurred by the creation of the Traveling Engine are much too high for the Energy Magic Building department to afford... so he takes the receipt and hides it in a book, intending to slip it into some part of the University's expenses where it will be paid without a second thought. Unfortunately, Ridcully is well aware of Ponder's tendency to employ tricks like this, finds the book the receipt is stashed in and takes it. Johanna and Penny then have to work together to save Ponder from the Archchancellor's wrath.
  • Twenty Years Later: Reimu's Successor: Patricia is repeatedly told that she's inherited Reimu's status as an Invincible Hero. This makes her increasingly arrogant, until her carelessness almost leads to her getting killed by Marisa in their 'extra boss' fight.

  • In Dead Snow, horror film geek Erlend lampshades the students' "group of friends alone on a trip with no cell reception" situation as a horror trope, correctly identifies the zombies when they appear... and is one of the first to die.
  • Subverted in Evolution, Trope Namer for The Black Dude Dies First. After stating that very line, the black character is attacked by a mosquito-creature — and survives.
  • Duncan in The Final Girls is obnoxiously thrilled at finding himself inside a campy slasher movie and is certain that he and the other "real" characters can't be harmed since they're not part of the original plot. The villain unceremoniously proves him wrong, making the others realise that they'd better start fighting for their lives. The end shows that he was actually partly right - the "real" characters can die, but they all come back to life after the end credits.
  • Friday the 13th (1980) actually. Marcy guesses that someone is hiding in the cubicles of the bathroom after she overhears a strange sound, and tries to catch them by investigating empty shower cubicles. This allows the killer to sneak up behind her, when she would have had a better chance if she'd just left.
  • Subverted in Galaxy Quest. Guy, a low-ranking cast member of the show is extremely Genre Savvy and constantly worries because he is the Red Shirt. One of his colleagues eventually suggests that perhaps he's wrong to assume he's the Red Shirt and he may instead be the Plucky Comic Relief. In the end, he survives the real-life drama, is the only one not shot during the final climactic shootout, and is promoted to an actual cast member when the show is restarted.
  • In the slasher movie Halloween Night, the lesbian couple who just had sex are damn near an inversion of this trope since they made it to 3/4 of the way through the movie despite breaking pretty much every horror movie rule in the book. Still, at that point, the killer drops down in their room from....somewhere and goes up to their bed to attack them. The taller girl specifically never assumes that it's their friend, something damn near groundbreaking in horror movies and instead instructs her girlfriend to run while she beats the shit out of him. He likely would have lost this fight had it not been for the inexplicable clothes hanger that he put through her eye. Also her girlfriend escaped and was the one who called the police that showed up at the end.
  • In House on Haunted Hill (1999), Pritchard, who knows the lethal history of the house, spends most of the movie sitting in the most central, well-lit room possible and drinking heavily. However, this doesn't do him much good. Interestingly, in the original version of the script, he was the one who survived, while the black guy died.
  • Kong: Skull Island: When Kong chases a pair of soldiers, one of them apparently ditched the Prometheus School of Running Away From Things and yells to his fellow soldier to run to Kong's side instead of just running straight ahead from him. The soldier who doesn't turn gets stomped, but unfortunately the soldier who did gets grabbed by Kong anyway and flung into the intake of a passing helicopter.
  • M. Night Shyamalan uses this in a Take That! against film critics in the movie Lady in the Water. The critic is very Genre Savvy, to the point that (while tipsy from a party) he starts a one-sided conversation/lecture on his chances of surviving the movie's monster... while it's slowly advancing on him!
    "Hello? Is the bathroom on this level working? A dog inside the building! Go! Shoo! Why you're not a dog at all. My god, this is like a moment from a horror movie. This is precisely the moment where the mutation or beast will attempt to kill an unlikable side character. But, in stories where there has been no prior cursing, violence, nudity or death, such as in a family film, the unlikable character will escape his encounter, and be referenced later in the story, having learned valuable lessons. He may even be given a humorous moment to allow the audience to feel good about him. This is where I turn to run. You will leap for me, I will shut the door, and you will land a fraction of a second too late."
    (turns to run, and is promptly killed by the monster)
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: During the Tyrannosaurus's rampage through San Diego, one man breaks off from the panicking crowd to try and take shelter in a nearby building. Unfortunately, the Tyrannosaurus notices a lone "prey animal" breaking off from "the herd" and makes a beeline for the guy. He just manages to get the door open as the Tyrannosaurus seizes him in its jaws and proceeds to devour him.
  • Parodied in The Other Guys, where Officers Danson and Highsmith fling themselves off a 20-story building onto an open sidewalk in their confidence that, as the heroes, they'll land safely. It ends just about as well as you would expect.
    The Narrator: Cops still argue to this day why Danson and Highsmith jumped. Maybe it was just pride, having survived so many brushes with death. Maybe their egoes pushed them off. I don't know. But that shit was crazy.
  • In Prometheus, after the team finds a dead body while exploring the alien planet, Fifield and Milburn turn tail to head back to the ship. Unfortunately, this one decision is followed by immediately dropping their genre savy and acting like idiots in their own respective fields of expertise. First they get lost (despite one of them being the expert in their mapping technology), and then they directly approach some unknown alien wildlife just because they are curious and assume it is friendly (despite the other guy being the animal expert of the expedition). Both end up getting killed there while the rest of the party manages to survive that particular excursion.
  • Scream:
    • Randy Meeks was nearly killed in the first movie by a killer who was sneaking up behind him while he was watching Halloween, berating Laurie Strode to look behind her. If Ghostface hadn't been distracted, he would've been killed right there. The kicker: Randy is played by Jamie Kennedy. The movie character he's shouting at is played by Jamie Lee Curtis. What's he shouting? "Look behind you Jamie! Jamie! Look behind you!" He wasn't so lucky in the second movie, but was Genre Savvy enough to leave a videotaped message to the survivors just in case they were living in a trilogy.
    • In the second movie, the two girls who survive the crash where the killer is driving both run to the end of the block. One then turns around to check and see if the killer was dead. The second girl insists that they don't go. "This is stupid! Stupid people go back! We're not stupid people, are we!?" The killer then appears behind her and stabs her while the girl who went to check gets away.
    • If Tatum in the first film stopped her rant about how obviously contrived her situation was (trapped with the masked killer) even a few seconds earlier to think, she might have been able to get the upper hand and escape. Then again, she was drunk at the time.
    • This almost happens to Sidney in the first film when she has the foresight to lock the front door after receiving a threatening phone call from Ghostface... only for it to turn out that he was already inside the house, meaning that she had just locked herself in Alone with the Psycho. Unable to get the front door open in time, she winds up having to run upstairs to escape — exactly the move that she mocked as a cliché of Too Dumb to Live slasher victims only minutes before!
  • Tatum's aforementioned death in Scream gets parodied in the first Scary Movie, where Buffy Gilmore, thinking that it's all an elaborate prank, describes the way she will break her ankle and be killed to the masked killer himself. She then actually breaks her own leg (and the bone shows, yeck!), causing even the killer to wince. In fact, she keeps talking even after the killer beheads her, with a tone that indicated that she believed these events to all be ridiculously impossible. The irony was palpable.
  • For how oddly genre savvy Narissa is in Enchanted, she uses it in a way that ends up with her dead. By the time she has Robert in her clutches, scaling the building, it's blatantly obvious Edward and Giselle aren't joined at the hip any longer, and Giselle is not your average fairy tale princess. Now, had Narissa taken, say, Edward up the building, she might have survived. Assuming Pip didn't go after her anyway, or Nathaniel didn't go after him, being his lackey and all...
  • Around two-thirds of the way through Sinister, the lead well and truly realizes he's in a haunted house movie and takes his family and moves back to their old house. Unfortunately, it turns out that the big bad wants the families he affects to move out, as they'll leave behind a record in a new place and expand his influence.
  • Stargate: Continuum: The Goa'uld System Lords are ageless, petty, and unfathomably-evil aliens with delusions of godhood, who squabble with each other constantly and will ruin entire planets and kill millions just to spite one another's territorial ambitions. And then there's Ba'al, who is not only disturbingly sane compared to his fellow Goa'uld, but also far more subtle and pragmatic when playing the galactic conquest game. He knows exactly what buttons to push to gain allies, who he can manipulate and who he can intimidate. And yes, he is familiar with Earth fiction after spending several years living on the planet incognito. When he manages to go back in time and put his talents and knowledge to the test, he unites the System Lords using relatively peaceful methods, building an empire stronger and more unified than anything the Goa'uld had ever had before, and is about to come closer to conquering Earth than any previous System which point he's quite literally stabbed in the back by the last person he expected: his beloved consort Qetesh, who had grown suspicious of his actions precisely because he wasn't acting like a typical Goa'uld, and decided to take over the old-fashioned way. In retrospect, he really should have seen it coming.
  • Parodied in Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Tucker and Dale are your typical hillbillies living in the woods who meet a bunch of teenagers that disturb them with their trip. Except Tucker and Dale don't really care, are honest and good guys and at one point rescue one of the teenagers from drowning. But the teens are Wrong Genre Savvy, misinterpret everything that happens and end up killing each other in their attempts to "survive" the Hillbilly Horrors they believe to be in. So in a certain way, this is a case of Death By Wrong Genre Savviness.
  • In You Might Be the Killer, after Chuck explains how slasher movies usually end with only one Final Girl surviving, one of the potential victims tries exploiting this knowledge but ends up dying as a result. Imani believes that if she kills the only other remaining girl, she'll become the final girl by default. The attempt results in her being killed instead.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Channel Zero: Butcher's Block has an example in the story told at the beginning of the pilot. The girl who hears a sound and sees a small figure in the bushes and goes off to investigate, calling "hello," ends up unharmed. Meanwhile her friend, who gets the hell out of there at the first sign of creepiness, is attacked and killed by a robed dwarf with a meat hammer.
  • In the episode "Exit Wounds" of Criminal Minds, the Victim of the Week heard a noise and called out "Who's there?" She immediately lampshades this by adding "Right, because the homicidal maniac hiding in the shadows is totally going to answer you." He doesn't.
  • Sharon Novak in the Lost Tapes episode "Monster of Monterey"— ties herself to the boat when working on deck and going underwater to fix the engine, check. Refuses to investigate an abandoned boat with bloody decks alone, check. Immediately tries to call Coast Guard on malfunctioning radio and then has boyfriend call them from shore while she tries to raise her sails and leave the area as soon as possible, check. She only dies because the monster returns before the Coast Guard can arrive and her tether is too long to stop her from being knocked overboard while raising the sails.
  • In season 6 of Smallville, two characters (one played by a well-known rap artist, the other by a relatively unknown actor) are playing basketball when they see and hear something fall from the sky and land not too far away behind a warehouse. The character played by the rap artist immediately goes back to check it out, while the other tells him not to go there, yelling "Don't you ever watch movies?" Of course, the guy who goes to check it out ends up getting possessed by the alien that had just landed, while the other is reduced to ash a few moments later. In a way, this overlaps with Death by Pragmatism.

  • In the play and movie Arsenic and Old Lace, Mortimer is a theater critic with a maniacal, murderous brother and two aunts who like to poison elderly guests. The brother's henchman tries to warn Mortimer that his brother wants to kill him, but Mortimer ignores him. The henchman wails, "Tell me, don't those plays you see all the time teach you anything? At least people in plays act like they've got sense!" Mortimer, laughing at the notion that people act intelligently in plays, proceeds to describe a really bad play with a character who "knows he's in a house with murderers — he ought to know he's in danger. He's even been warned to get out of the house, and does he go? No, he stays there." He describes how the character sits down with his back to the murderer as the killer cuts down the curtain cord he's going to use to tie him up with. This gives the evil brother lurking in the background the idea to cut down the curtain cords and use them to tie him up with it. Just when Mortimer has reached the climax of his tirade against unimaginative playwrights who make a supposedly intelligent guy act oblivious and just keep sitting where he is, waiting to be Bound and Gagged, his brother drops the curtain cord over his shoulders, and the henchman gags him with a handkerchief, commenting, "You were right about that fellow — he wasn't very bright."

    Video Games 
  • In Alan Wake, Nightingale becomes Genre Savvy due to his reading the manuscript pages. While gloating to a jailed Wake and Barry, he remembers that this very scene occurred in the manuscript and ended with him getting grabbed by the Dark Presence. He becomes terrified and starts looking for an exit, but... well, you know.
  • Death end re;Quest has two Death Ends that appear to give you the opportunity to backtrack to a save point before a boss battle, only to subvert Gameplay and Story Segregation if you stray too far.
    • Early in the game, Lily rushes into the castle's throne room to confront her father, the king of Heartis. Try to return to the hallway after this scene, and Arata wonders what Shina is doing before the door slams behind Lily. When the door opens again, Shina rushes in to find Lily's skewered corpse... before the door closes behind her.
    • Late in the game, the party needs to lure the Infernal Wyrm. Try to return to the save point after laying the bait, and the Wyrm escapes, the volcanic area becomes even hotter and, right when the party decides that it's too hot for them to stay, an Entoma Queen traps them with an Invisible Wall. Cue everyone burning to death.
  • Alduin of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim knew that the Dragonborn was the only one who could possibly stand in his way, and so set out to find and kill that person while they were weak. However, the Dragonborn had been arrested on false charges and was going to be executed by the Empire; in fact, their head was literally on the chopping block and Alduin landing on a nearby tower made the executioner stumble as he was raising his axe. If he had waited just one more second, Alduin would have had the world at his mercy; instead, his attack gives the Dragonborn the opportunity to escape, discover their destiny, and become powerful enough to eventually slay him and save the world. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain Because Destiny Says So.
  • God of War Ragnarök: At one point, Brok realizes that something about one of his guests isn't adding up and confronts the person on it. This forces "Tyr" to reveal that he was Odin in disguise, but also results in Brok's death as Odin kills him in a fit of rage.
  • This is also the Establishing Series Moment in the arch-sadistically difficult I Wanna Be the Guy game (and its fangames). No matter which way you take, be it the one with the spike walls or the one with the delicious fruits, you are going to die AT LEAST once due to your hubris when you think you've got the game and its difficulty figured out. And this is just one of the many moments when the game will screw you and your Genre Savvy-ness over.
  • One question in The Impossible Quiz 2 warns, "PRESS THIS BUTTON TO KILL YOURSELF WITH DEATH BEFORE THE BOMB DOES!" If you click the button itself, you go to the next question. If you click "THIS BUTTON", you die.
  • In the backstory of Left 4 Dead, Zoey's father gets bitten, and they've seen enough movies to not want him to become a Zombie Infectee. So, he has Zoey Mercy Kill him. Turns out afterward that he was immune to the virus. Oops.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gives Ganon the genre savviness that leads to the destruction of Hyrule. When the people of Hyrule learned that Calamity Ganon was previously sealed away through the use of Divine Beasts and Guardians made by Sheikah technology, as well as the royal princess' divine power, they proceeded to dig up the old, decrepit machinery and recreate everything to re-seal Calamity Ganon. And Calamity Ganon remembered what was done last time around, so its spirit began to possess the Divine Beasts and Guardian, killed the Champions and turned the battle in its favor.
    • This gets turned back on him when Link manages to defeat all four of his Blights, relatively on his own (he gets help in disabling the Divine Beasts, but tackles their interiors alone, and the partners stay in their areas afterward) and finally takes him down, potentially without the Master Sword!
    • The King of Hyrule is aware that the royal princess's sealing power is the key to defeating Ganon, so he insists that Zelda dedicate her entire life to unlocking it through prayer and rituals. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of Zelda's own thoughts and feelings on the matter as well as her actual interests and hobbies, which King Rhoam dismisses as unimportant distractions. Not only does this give Zelda a crippling inferiority complex and ruin their relationship, it's strongly implied that this approach actually prevents Zelda from accessing the power. By the time Rhoam finally realizes he might be on the wrong track, it's too late to stop the Calamity from killing him and most of Hyrule along with him.
  • At the end of Life Is Strange, Chloe concludes that the tornado and other weird phenomena were caused by Max keeping her from getting killed at the very beginning of the game with her time travel ability. She decides the only way to prevent the end of the world is for Max to go back in time and let her past self die. Max can either go back, erase the events of the entire game and let Chloe die alone, or say Screw Destiny and let events unfold.
  • In Mass Effect, the Quarians create a race of machine slaves called the Geth who they accidentally let achieve artificial intelligence. Having seen plenty of movies about this sort of thing, they decide to shut down the geth before the inevitable occurs. However, they vastly underestimate the rate at which the geth have developed. The quarians then resorted to simply shutting off the geth the good old fashioned way (with bullets) and the geth responded by producing armies of themselves and slaughtering 99.9% of the quarian population, eventually butchering the quarian colonies and driving them from their home world. Then the player finds out that the geth didn't have any real beef with the quarians and were just confusedly defending themselves. 300 years later.
    • Not just themselves. A good number of quarians refused to let their mechanical servants/friends be destroyed. Many sympathizers were killed alongside the geth they were trying to protect. One of the reasons the geth fought back was to protect those who would protect them. In the geth version they were all murdered by the other quarian faction in the opening hours of the war; the quarian version denies they existed at all. On the other hand, the fact that tens of billions of civilians just sort of disappeared as the geth took over may imply that the geth are seriously white-washing their role in the whole thing. The fact that modern Quarians deploy their civilians as combatants (especially in the third game) does muddle the issue a bit.
  • In Metal Saga, the player can once again be subjected to this. At one point, you get several messages warning you that the West is too dangerous and you'll die if you go there. A genre-savvy RPG player will take this to mean that should be their next destination. Turns out the advice is actually perfectly accurate, and if you do much more there than take the train over and pick up your choice of Soldier, you will be wiped out.
  • Metroid Prime Trilogy:
    • Metroid Prime: You're locked in a room, with a single Metroid in a stasis tank, you scan the Metroid and it breaks out. Veteran players will assume you need the ice beam to kill it. The problem is at this point you will not have the ice beam. Cue screams of fear. There is a terminal that actually tells you to use missiles (or Super Missiles) against it, but that won't be available to you until after you kill this one. Have fun with that.
    • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: You reach the Xenoresearch laboratories in Elysia, where many Metroid specimens are encased in canisters. By this point you have the Ice Missiles, and ice attacks have always worked in the past, what could possibly go wrong? These Metroids can phase right through the missiles, as they've learned to dodge solid matter this way.
  • Peret em Heru: For the Prisoners plays with this during its finale. Once the Final Boss is defeated, the pyramid starts shaking, causing Ayuto, Kyosuke, and any other survivors to panic: obviously that was a Load-Bearing Boss, right? And to make matters worse, their efforts are hindered by anyone who died during the exploration coming back to attack them. However, it turns out that Pharoah Khufu passed control of the pyramid and all its powers over to Kyosuke, effectively triggering this — everything that happens during the escape sequence is only happening because they expect it to happen. Their fear is becoming real, and if the player made the wrong call earlier, this can result in the suicidal Saori turning out to have been Not Quite Saved Enough.
  • Ben Bertolucci of Resident Evil 2 found the perfect strategy for surviving a Zombie Apocalypse when he locks himself in a jail cell and refuses to come out for any reason. Then a giant, superpowered Humanoid Abomination comes along, tears open the cell bars, and kills him while he's trapped inside with no way to escape. Even if it weren't for this incredible stroke of shitty luck, the game's Interquel reveals that the entire town gets nuked a few days later, so Ben's bright idea would have gotten him killed either way.
  • The Star Wars game Rebel Assault II has an Easter Egg that unlocks a Gag Dub. One scene of the Gag Dub has two Stormtroopers bemoaning their status as Mooks:
    First Stormtrooper: You want to bet we get killed in the next ten seconds?
    Second Stormtrooper: That's a sucker bet.
    First Stormtrooper: We'd probably have a chance if we weren't standing with our backs to the desert.
  • The insanely difficult game Syobon Action (also known as Cat Mario) works around this concept and the game it emulates: Super Mario Bros, and does it with sadistic glee. Here, the coins are absolutely worthless, some coin blocks will kill you, the usual Mario powerups (Mushroom, Fire Flower, Starman) equal death in this world, the Warp Pipes (which in SMB were good news) will toss you to the air, and even ending a level the wrong way will destroy you.
    • The sequel is gentler when it comes to coins—collect 50 (compare SMB's 100) and you get an extra life. You need it. You begin off with 99 lives and... well... they're nowhere near enough, because the difficulty definitely compensates for the 99 lives. To put it simply, remember how the last game was just mean and cruel? This one is downright casting Crucio on you.
  • A Touhou Project example: as a Bullet Hell Shoot 'Em Up, Touhou players know that getting trapped in a box of bullets is a bad idea. Anything that limits movements is dangerous enough in a game where everything (and there's a lot of everything) kills you in one shot, let alone a box which is obviously going to collapse on the character, killing them. So, when Yuuka fires off a box around the player which slowly shrinks, the first time anyone fights her, they'll jump out of the box as soon as possible... to be met by an undodgeable wall of One-Hit Kill bullets and lasers that hits everywhere except inside the box, which stops shrinking just before it would have killed. Have fun being "a mist of atoms."

    Web Animation 
  • Hunter: The Parenting: Big D gets a moment of this that sets up the plot of the third episode. While the reason he gives for not telling his family much about how vampires really work is completely understandable (Vampires are really serious about enforcing the Masquerade and have eyes everywhere, so even knowing something as basic as the proper names of vampire clans can make you a target if you let it slip at the wrong time- something emphasized with the audiologs revealing that police officer Guy Chapman is a ghoul and that Marckus is quite willing to talk about vampires with his friends in a pub), but this also means that said family doesn't know extremely important information about vampires and having to figure it out by trial and error- such as the fact that vampires who feed on other vampires get a massive power boost. Marckus attempting to use the Licks to experiment with this leads to Pyotr Diablerizing his two packmates and escaping.

    Web Comics 
  • This Irregular Webcomic! strip, parodying Dr. No.
  • This The Non-Adventures of Wonderella strip.
  • In the Sluggy Freelance slasher pastiche "KITTEN," two Red Shirts, Randy and Cindy (a black guy and a slut, respectively), are in a car together, casually discussing how they're likely to die. Randy even mentions that he'll probably go out with some lame pun. Sure enough, Randy gets decapitated in that very comic (after being told to "quit while you're ahead"). And Cindy dies in the next strip by being cut in half, while one of the other characters comments "I always wanted to see Cindy topless."

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks, in an episode parody of Indiana Jones, the villain forces Alvin (Indiana) to choose one of three mystic orbs on a pedestal. One of them is real, the other two are booby trapped. One of them has already been picked, leaving two. When Alvin reaches for the middle one, the villain immediately reasons that this is some sort of trick, and grabs the left one instead. It was the wrong choice.
    "You really should learn to trust people!"
  • Gravity Falls: In "Scaryoke", when the Mystery Shack is attacked by a swarm of zombies, Soos sets himself up for this, but does get better.
    Soos: Dudes, stay calm. I have been training for this moment my whole life. With all the horror movies I've seen, I literally know all there is to know about to avoid zombies.
    (a zombie bites Soos from behind; he turns instantly)
    Soos: Second thought, gonna flip the script. Can I eat your brains, yea or nay? I'm seeing some yea faces over here....
  • In King of the Hill, the Hills visit a Renaissance fair, where the "king" has fairgoers throw tomatoes at Peggy. She tells them that potatoes would be more historically accurate, at which point the fairgoers readily switch their ammo. Not a death per se, but Peggy didn't exactly do herself any favors. note 
  • While he doesn't die (being a spirit, he probably can't) Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is ultimately undone in part by this. After effectively depowering the Elements of Harmony by breaking and Mind Raping the mane cast into being disharmonic, he lets them "take their best shot" at him, and it fails, which was his plan to crush Twilight Sparkle's spirit. However, in the end, they try this again, Discord safe in the knowledge that with the Circle of Friendship broken, the Elements are useless...only to find out too late that they've reforged their friendship without his knowledge and he gets stuffed back in his can.
  • Inverted somewhat in Teen Titans (2003). In an episode where the Titans find themselves stalked by monsters, Beast Boy uses his knowledge of horror movies to correctly predict that, as the Genre Savvy Plucky Comic Relief, he'll be the first victim, and isn't exactly surprised when he's proven right. Played straight a few minutes later, where Robin is taken when he's about to explain why everything's happening. Also a Justified Trope. The monster is actually a projection of Raven's sub-conscious mind reacting to an actual horror movie the team had been watching earlier.
  • Subverted during the serial killer challenge on Total Drama—Gwen continually warns the others about typical horror movie clichés, but one by one they don't listen and, of course, get caught by Chef. Duncan, the second savviest character, manages to defeat Chef when he purposefully goes to fight him after waiting for Gwen to leave, making him the Final Guy by default, while Gwen winds up fighting a real serial killer who shows up, winning the challenge.
  • Henchman #24 in the Season 3 finale of The Venture Brothers. Despite being genre savvy (as was his close friend, #21), buckling in a non-moving vehicle turned out to be his undoing. They'd also bragged about their Plot Armor a few episodes earlier. In typical Venture fashion, it's lampshaded hysterically.
    #21: Why would you DO THAT!?
    #24: I DON'T KNOW!

Alternative Title(s): Death By Genre Savvy